By Sonia Schnee | Sunday, April 1, 2018
In January 2018, Clayton, NJ soulful pop singer-songwriter, Marc Ambrosia, released his new single, "One Step Back." At age 23, his music is already getting international radio play. Check out our interview with Marc, below, to learn about his musical journey, the inspiration behind some of his songs, and his plans for the future.
What's your name, where are you from, where are you based now?
My name is Marc Ambrosia, and I am a singer/songwriter born and bred in Clayton, NJ.
Tell us about your music. How would you describe your sound? Where do you record? Who are your influences, musically?
I’d like to think listeners find something familiar, yet fresh in my songs. That’s how I’d describe my sound. My last record and the bulk of my new songs were recorded in Blackwood, NJ with Jamie Myerson co-producing and engineering. There are many musicians and engineers I’ve either encountered or have worked with over the years, but none compare to Jamie. He and I can sort of read each other’s minds at this point, and musically and personally we share a lot of common ground.
As far as influences go, Christine McVie is a brilliant keyboard player, vocalist, and writer. What I most admire is her ability to keep things simple yet powerful. Then you have k.d. lang, who is one of the greatest voices to ever walk the face of the earth. If one day, I can be half as good as she is, I will have achieved the impossible! Finally, there’s Norah Jones. I really admire Norah. She has all the talent in the world and just does whatever the hell she wants to with it. She’s done jazz, she’s done country, she’s done some really indie type stuff. Norah sort of answers to no one and makes the music she wants to. She steers the ship in both the musical aspect and the business aspect.
What's the meaning or inspiration behind some of your songs? How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I’m a romantic person. Even when I write about heartbreak, there’s still a tender underlying sense of romance underneath. I would hope people who listen hear that and connect with that. “One Step Back,” for example, is a song about falling deeply in love with someone and then having to let go because the other person just up and left one day. In spite of the lyrics wallowing in despair, there’s still a sense of romance. All of that passion of having fallen in love is wrapped up in those lyrics, too. I think overall, my songs speak to the notion of "love is never wrong." You’re never wrong to love someone, even if they don’t love you, even if every sign points towards “no, don’t fall for this person.” If you feel something in your heart, feel it. If you love someone, love them. You are never wrong to love.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started with music? What's been your personal journey?
My musical journey really began in the early 2000s, I guess. As a kid, I sang in the Baptist church. That’s when I first realized I could sing, and that’s when I first realized that’s what I really wanted to do. Before I knew it, I was traveling to different churches within the Tri-State area to sing. A few years down the line (probably 2009), I ended up joining a rock cover band, which I stayed in for about two years, before leaving to finally work on my own songs. At that point (2011), I teamed up with another songwriter, and we formed an acoustic duo. For about five years we wrote and played our asses off! The two of us became better songwriters from working off of one another. Eventually, I think we both felt as if we could stand on our own. Since then, I’ve been writing and recording all of my own songs. In 2015, I put out my first solo album, and since then I’ve been dropping new singles sporadically.
Are there any artists, bands, or producers who you'd love to collaborate with one day?
Rick Nowels. You have no idea how many times I hear something great and I look to see who produced it and lo and behold, it’s Rick Nowels! He produced Lana Del Ray’s latest record and has also worked with Stevie Nicks, Dua Lipa, k.d. lang and so many others. I’d also love to work with Mark Needham, who is a mixing engineer heavyweight. His greatest mix work? The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” hands down. I’m also a huge Indigo Girls fan and would love the opportunity to work with Amy and Emily, whose songs were such a guiding force when I was just starting out with songwriting. I’d also like to work with their last record’s producer, Jordan Brooke Hamlin. Jordan seems to have that great ability to really take an artist into otherwise unchartered waters. In addition to that, I’d love to work with an artist named Mree. Mree is an amazing artist out of Portland, whose music I first discovered listening to the radio late at night when she was playing a local radio show. I’ve followed her music ever since and she’s got the voice, the writing talent, and the production know-how. Somewhere down the line, I’d love to record a one-off collaborative record with another artist where we write some songs together, sing together, and go out and tour it together. Not sure with who that would be a good idea just yet but definitely something I’d love to do with another artist someday. We could combine our own two worlds for a moment in time. Would be fun.
What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who wants to follow a similar passion, or is maybe facing obstacles similar to what you've faced?
When I had asked Aaron Neville a question similar to this years back, he said, “Do it because you love it.” At first, I thought that was pretty generic advice, but as you really devote more and more years to chasing a dream, that advice becomes more and more profound. If you’re out there as an artist, you’re going to encounter many shady characters, and you’re going to come into contact with lots of dirty deals. Be smart, don’t just jump at an opportunity because it’s the only opportunity being offered to you. Always keep your artistic values in your head and never do anything that compromises your artistic integrity. And most of all, just like Aaron Neville once told me, do it because you love it!
What's next on the horizon for you?
My next single, “World With You,” will be released in May. In addition to that, I’m currently at work on a new music video for my song, “One Step Back.”
Finally, how can people find you online?